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Animation Roulette…

First, Rapunzel became Tangled, when Disney’s marketing department panicked and imposed a title change on Disney Animation Studios. Then, more recently, The Bear and the Bow was re-announced as Brave because… well, who knows, actually. Now it looks like the still-officially-unannounced-once-canceled-but-now-alive-with-a-different-director-project-that-won’t-die Joe Jump is going to be called Reboot Ralph. Because, ya know, the kids love to reboot. According to Deadline Hollywood, the story of an 8-bit videogame character in a quad-core world will debut on March 22, 2013.

Meanwhile, while all these semantic shenanigans were afoot, we’ve lost King of the Elves and The Snow Queen. This week, the internet got all aflutter with the shocking news that Pixar had pulled the plug on Gary Rydstrom’s newt. To which I say, well, yeah.

So with all this bloodletting, what do we have? Lined up on the Disney side of the fence there’s Rapunzel, Winnie-the-Pooh in 2011, and Reboot Ralph in 2013. Pixar is now sequeltown (next door to Pigs With Pigs Junction) with Toy Story 3 (2010), Cars 2 (2011), Monsters Inc. 2 (2012) and Brave (2012). Brad Bird is AWOL and headed to Paramount to film Mission: Impossible IV (potential subtitle: “The First Good One”), Andrew Stanton’s John Carter of Mars isn’t out until 2012, and Pete Docter is doing… something. But he won’t say what.

Then there’s all the mid-level talent creeping out the doors; with only two releases per year, directorial power has remained in the hands of a select few and there’s nowhere for rising stars to go but to other studios. Will the sequels take over, or is there still room for new ideas?

So after the much-ballyhooed slate of a few years ago has been picked apart, and the much-ballyhooed return of traditional animation has been pretty much relegated to W.T. Pooh, and the much-ballyhooed shorts program is nowhere to be seen, one has to ask… what’s up?

One last thing – I don’t typically do this but I’m feeling particularly saucy tonight. From February:

Who wants to bet that newt’s summer 2012 release spot goes to another Pixar rehash, Monsters, Inc. 2?

OK, so I got the season wrong (Monsters 2 be a fall release, not a summer release), but next time, Disney, prove me really wrong.

UPDATE: It looks like the Reboot Ralph announcement was official. No word on if Rich Moore is still slated to direct.

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2 comments to Animation Roulette…

  • Celeste C.

    Ballyhooooooooooooooooo…..

    Shoot, back in late ’07 we had meetings talking about the future Pixar slate. There may or may not have been even more sequels than you just mentioned…or maybe that was my imagination reacting to my the befuzzled state of my brain.

    I hate to believe that Lasseter thinks this is in any way a good idea. Honestly though, ever since he used the phrase “too quirky for it’s own good,” my estimation of his greatness has somewhat diminished. I hope that I’m proven wrong.

    Now I’m torn between wanting the sequels to make a ton of money so they can feel free to invest in unique projects, and wanting them to fail so studios stop with the flipping unwarranted sequels already.

  • karl

    All Pixar has done since taking over Disney is fail. Firing good directors (like Chris Sanders), desperately and reactionarily renaming movies, banking on audience nostalgia for recycled dull 2D fairy tale musicals rather than doing something innovative. Spending so much $$ on Rapunzel/Tangled, it will never turn a profit even if it crawls past 100 million like P&F did.

    Looks like they won’t have a success for a good long time. Arrogance has earned them a pile of Disney Animation failures. Winnie The Pooh? Are they @^#&@* kidding? Who’s gonna see that who doesn’t wear diapers? Better luck with a “Barney The Dinosaur” summer blockbuster – less baby-ish. And isn’t the “Reboot” TV show about videogame characters going to sue Disney over stealing their name?

    Sorry I love Pixar and Disney’s best like the rest, but the best days are clearly behind them. From what I hear, they marched into Burbank like know-it-alls and didn’t trust the artists and filmmakers, and on top of that, Lasiter and crew were never around much to make the Disney film product any better than Chicken Little which is still the last best $$ success Disney has had. So buying Pixar was a good choice for Disney, just for owning Pixar profits, not for the management “genius” of Pixar when applied to Disney. Maybe they’ll wise up and do better. Time will tell….

    As to the Pixar Sequels, sad, desperate but inevitable. Ironic that they are copying sworn enemy Katzenberg/Dreamworks who’s been rockin’ the sequels for quite some time….

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